If you want to protect your electric gadgets, using a surge protector which sits between them and the electrical socket is the best idea. They can safeguard your devices from power surges and ensure a consistent voltage of electricity.
A sudden voltage spike can considerably damage your appliances and surge protectors have been designed to prevent such circumstances.
If you think that surge protectors are going to last a lifetime, you’re wrong. They do have a definite lifespan and at a certain point, they are going to stop protecting your appliances from power surges. Their value will come down to an ordinary power strip which doesn’t do anything to protect your electronic devices.
It is actually quite difficult to tell when a surge protector will lose its protective powers and function like an ordinary power strip. If you have been using one for a decade, it is long past time to be replaced and your appliances are already at a high risk of damage.
There are a number of factors which decide the lifetime of a surge protector and they include the number of storms in your area, different appliances at home that may cause power dips, and grid issues of the power company. Considering these factors, you can determine whether your surge protector is good to use or ready to be replaced.
They Have a Certain Lifespan
The basic function of a surge protector is to receive the power surge from the electrical socket. They are responsible for taking care of the extra voltage and protecting the device or gadget from its adverse effects.
Usually, a typical surge protector consists of a component called the metal oxide varistor (MOV). When the voltage strikes, it drives the extra current towards the MOV component which degrades the voltage. It has the capacity to control a small number of large surges as well as a large number of small surges. This additional energy doesn’t reach your device and degrades in the MOV, thus, protecting your gadget.
After your surge protector has absorbed a certain number of surges, it stops properly functioning and becomes a useless power strip. It will not protect your devices anymore and will let the excessive voltage pass through.
How to Tell if You’re Surge Protector is Functional or Not?
It is impossible to guarantee the lifespan of a surge protector and it can stop functioning at any time for an unknown reason. Some surge protectors come with built-in lights which indicate that a problem has occurred or if it needs to be replaced. However, you cannot trust this light system to be foolproof.
As soon as you see a warning sign on your surge protector, you should replace it as soon as possible. Never assume that a 10-year-old surge protector is functioning absolutely perfectly because the light has yet to come on.
The longer your surge protector has been in use, the more you are at a risk. If you are aware that it has absorbed a serious power surge, get a new one before it’s too late.
No one can guarantee the exact lifespan of a surge protector as it greatly varies from one area to another. It depends on the number of surges in your area and how many joules your protector has already absorbed.
You Can Measure the Lifespan in Joules
Surge protectors come with ratings and they tell you how much protection their design can guarantee. If you get a 1000 joule surge protector, this is the total measure of energy which a joule surge protector can absorb. After this limit, it won’t provide any protection and will let the extra voltage pass through it.
With every power surge, the capacity of the surge protector is decreased and this limits the number of joules it can absorb in the future. When a 1000 joule surge protector reaches the 1000 joule mark, it is done and you need to buy a new one before any delay. This mark can also be reached in distinct parts, for example, your surge protector can also wear off after getting ten 100 joule hits instead of a single 1000 hit.
Many people recommend replacing the surge protector every two years but a recommendation of this sort is never a rule of thumb. If your surge protector has absorbed a high number of surges before this time, it would definitely need to be replaced within two years.
The number of years can never define the capacity of a surge protector; it is actually the joules which measure how long it can last. The sooner it reaches the limit, the sooner you would need a replacement. It is better to be safe than sorry and get the surge protector replaced before you need to change any of your appliances.